Let It Shine seeks a band greater than the sum of its parts

This show is about potential, and it’s all the stronger for it.

So many people don’t ever step forward and take their chance, so why do others begrudge the opportunity to those who do? This is a refreshing change from the other shows, with lads who are clearly talented but just need a little bit of direction to grow and improve on what is there naturally.

Being comfortable on stage, getting along with a cast and crew – these are qualities that Gary is also looking for, not just a knock-them-out-of-park voice.

The element of teamwork can’t be underestimated – five young lads all together will be hard to control, so if you have one who won’t stop talking or tries to impose their personality on everyone else, it isn’t going to work.

They need the likeability factor, and the humbleness that allows them to set aside their own ego for the sake of the group dynamic. You can see it working in the backstage clips, in the genuine delight for those going through.

So while some may not be knockout singers, they may bring other qualities to the band and it’ll be interesting to see who shines in the next stage.

First up, it’s guitar playing drummer Jordan from Edinburgh. Deciding that playing the drums left him too far back, he started singing – he was told this would also help get girls! With a nice lilting tone, and being a sweet, smiley and emotional lad, he’s really not going to have any problems with that. He sails through with 18 stars.

Jordan gets to the front of the stage on Let It Shine

The show gets a move on but we still have time to hear from Mark, who tells us how only 6 boys auditioned for Take That, so the odds were good. I’m wondering who the other one was and whether he ever got his break?

Next it’s AJ, a dance student, whose Mum was celebrating her birthday and hoping for a selfie with Gary. Thankfully for her, AJ made it through. A nice enough voice, not brilliant but a good stage presence and his dance training – although we didn’t see it here – will come in handy,

We’re in Wales with Gary to meet Dion, who thinks his rugby club is taking part in a sports documentary. With no pressure, we hear him singing Green Green Grass of Home and look forward to the audition. Sadly, the song choice in the audition didn’t give his voice much to do or anywhere to go, and though he had the likeability factor, he needs to get some vocal and drama training in order to bring it in an audition.

West End performer Matt nearly blew it, unconvincing at the start but pulling it together to show his range and versatility. He impressed enough to get a standing ovation from the judges and the full 20 stars.

Matt impressed eventually on Let It Shine

A short Amarillo interlude with Mel and Graham dancing around the stage, with the judges, Howard and Mark all singing and dancing along leads Amber to declare her love for Mel, who’d decreed: “Word of advice, love, don’t try these dance manoeuvres in these trousers,” as she tries to regain her breath.

Robbie Williams tribute act Dan took to the stage with seemingly everyone but me thinking he was the spitting image of said Robbie. Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe it’s Robbie who’s getting old and that’s why, to me, Dan didn’t look anything like him. Still, he sounded like him, but that wasn’t a good thing – it’s not what Gary is looking for. But the voice was solid, he was dynamic and they’re confident they can de-Robbie him.

Cheeky Elijah needed to stop talking and start singing but then couldn’t make up his mind how he wanted to sing. There was a voice in there somewhere but the audition was dreadful – but at least he got good, constructive feedback and encouragement, including from Graham: “We’ll see you again. You’re not killed when you go off the stage, it’s not that harsh”.

Another Jordan may have had an awesome voice to match the personality the judges tell us he had  – we didn’t hear enough of him but he made it through on 15 stars, joined by Harry “Fabulous” Brown on 17, who has the potential to live up to his name, and the confident Mark, also on 17 stars, of whom we also didn’t hear enough.

Young Danny with tonsillitis – who was a genuine lookalike, for Captain America pre-serum –  just made it through; we could all hear he could sing but he needs to dose himself up with honey and lemon, which Mel escorted him away to do.

Funny Kyle from Blackpool was working with Mark and Howard backstage, learning Take That signature dance the Running Man, and confessing he danced like a baby elephant. Vocally, he was impressive but with the odd little wobble, meaning he pulled in 19 stars. As Graham said: “Somebody slightly spoiled the party” with a meaningful look at Dannii. 

Funloving Kyle on Let It Shine

Being such a good natured show, they let Mel and Graham do the slow-mo tunnel walk, complete with talking heads. Mel was less keen once they got to the end:

Howard: “I love Graham, he’s such an amazing bloke, isn’t he?”

Mark: “Who’s that? Is that Sue’s friend?”

Dannii: “Graham! Top guy, suave!”

Gary: “Mel! She really takes the biscuit. No, I mean, she really did take my biscuit.”

A confusing ip-dip between the next two as Josh with the good pop voice goes through on 19, while Matt of the physical theatre and circus skills background makes it through on 16. I wasn’t entirely convinced by his voice, but he can dance and has plenty of energy.

Tayler from Southampton was annoying. If he works on both vocal and stage presence he could do well but this audition came too soon for him.

Finally, Hercules, who starts off with a soft, gentle pop voice before BOOM – an operatic background cuts in, lifting the audience into the lighting rigs. I didn’t think he’d make it through, even though he was wonderful, as clearly that voice is not going to fit the band. But the pop voice we heard at the beginning and the end convinced the judges, together with the sheer emotion of his performance.

An emotional Hercules on Let It Shine

One more set of auditions and then we really begin to sort them out!

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